Sparks in the Dark

Originally posted on February 27th, 2017 on The Olive Fox which has unfortunately closed down.

My mum has this phrase, “sometimes, it’s just your turn. Right now, it’s your turn”. She says it whenever things fall apart, whenever they get overwhelming. It was my turn during the Summer.

After six months of trying to cling on to what we had, my boyfriend and I ended our relationship of seven years. We’d lived together that whole time and for the first time in a long, long time, I felt alone. My world as I knew it was changing right in front of my eyes and there was nothing I could do but watch it happen.

Four weeks later, as my favourite person moved his half of our belongings out of the home we’d shared for five years, my landlord called to tell me that he was looking to sell my home. The next day, I had a hospital appointment and I was told that I’d likely soon be losing an ovary.

Even my body wasn’t off-limits. It was definitely my turn.

Monday-Friday, 9-5, I functioned. The rest of the time, I lay down. I lay in the bath, on the floor, in bed, just staring, wondering how I was going to find my feet again. Would I ever? I had a future planned and now my present was too overwhelming to deal with for more than eight hours at a time. I lived on noodles and toast. Anything more than that required effort that I just could not muster.

Eventually, the sparks started. The tiny, beautiful lights in what had felt like all-encompassing darkness. Small, but significant.

As I sat in a garden surrounded by those who I call my second family and my best friend, I realised that outside of my home and my ex-boyfriend, I had an entire world. It was always there. I wasn’t okay, I wasn’t going to be for a while but what I knew was that, no matter what, I wasn’t alone and I never had been. We drank ciders, wrapped ourselves in blankets and toasted marshmallows.

Mid-way through packing my belongings, I went on my first date in seven and a half years. We talked about literature, politics and how we’d found ourselves in Glasgow. He shyly asked me which gin was on the fireplace in the cosy pub we’d snuggled in and as I turned to answer, he kissed me. What a kiss. A tiny spark.

I’d told everybody that I could cope, I’d been through worse. I just needed time. Knowing me, and how stubborn I can be, they waited. They patiently offered words of support, songs, games, films – anything that felt like they were offering comfort. They waited, and waited until I eventually admitted I was struggling.

And then they charged.


My friends and family reminded me who I was outwith my sadness but, more notably, who they were. They loved me which I learned meant that, even when I was a mess, even when my heart was broken, they loved me. This love was shown through helping me pack, and move my belongings. It was shown by adding an uplifting song to counteract every sad song I added to a joint playlist. It was shown by holding my hands during those songs at concerts. It was all around me, once I accepted it, I couldn’t escape it. I had love, I just wasn’t in love. And that was okay.

My new home was huge, airy and actually, exactly the kind of home I’d been trying to move into since moving to the city nine years prior. I settled quicker than I expected and my new bed didn’t feel empty, it felt like mine. Only mine.

Barcelona had been the plan long before this happened but now, it felt necessary. It felt like I needed to be somewhere that wasn’t tainted with memories and corners I’d kissed on. Somewhere fresh and new but where old friends were living.

We flew on a Wednesday evening. A flight made up solely of Prosecco and excitement led us to what is probably the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. After much confusion and frustration, we found our hostel. Sitting on the balcony drinking Sangria and looking out at late-night Barcelona, I exhaled for what felt like the first time in a very, very long time.

The sparks had been becoming more apparent with each passing day but at that moment, cocooned under Spanish skies with the person that had carried me more than anybody else, they were blinding.

Our weekend went by in a haze of Sangria, Las Ramblas and catching up with our friends that moved there years ago. We didn’t make any itinerary – the last thing either of us needed was stress. We took the weekend as it came and if you are going through tough times, getting lost in a city with somebody you love is such an effective way to blow away the cobwebs; I thoroughly recommend it.

I cried leaving Barcelona. I didn’t like leaving my friends behind and I strangely felt as if the hope and wholeness that I’d recovered in Barcelona would stay there. I was wrong, I was so wrong. But I was grateful for all that Barcelona, and the friends I was there with, gave me.

I had my second date when I came back to Glasgow. He was a gentle, dorky, giant and I was smitten. We talked about anything and everything in-between, petting dogs, admiring the river we were drinking beside and having moments where we just smiled. I wasn’t forcing a smile! I couldn’t actually stop myself from smiling! He gave me his (stupidly long) jacket and under the stars, in Kelvingrove Park, we shared a kiss. I was beyond giddy. Even if this didn’t work out, having such an unbelievable crush was a relief. I could do all of this again and this was an excellent place to start.

I only had to look up to see the lights in the dark now.

I only had one more hurdle to face, I felt, and then I’d dealt with the worst of it. That hurdle was my birthday. My ex-boyfriend was a chef whose birthday was in December so my birthday always ended up being a bit of a big deal as we knew we wouldn’t see each other until January. It’d gotten to the point where I associated my birthday with him and, in all honesty, I wanted to cancel it and just hide away but I didn’t expect anybody to let me do that, so, I organised it.

I invited friends from home in England and, of course, the friends in Spain. It was more of an acknowledgement than actually expecting them to turn up. It felt strange not to and I worked under the assumption that I wouldn’t see them but as they always are, they’d be there in spirit.

On the day, I woke up alone and actually happy. It was just me, my cats and the knowledge that I was entering a new age as a single person. It felt like a fresh leaf.

Then I had a message “be ready for 11”. My best friends took me out for breakfast. They didn’t want me to spend the morning alone so they treated me to breakfast in a retro café. They didn’t need to do that, and I didn’t think I needed them to but my two favourite sparks in the dark had plotted behind my back to make sure I knew, on this day more than any other, that I was loved and not alone. It was a small, simple gesture but it was also the most beautiful way to start a new age.

I gathered everybody in the basement of a pub I’ve been going to since I moved here. They’d all helped me in one way or another and, on my birthday night, I wanted to party with them as a way to celebrate my birthday but, more importantly, celebrate us and the love between us. As I was wedged between my mum and one of my oldest friends and saw that my friend from Spain was stood right there.

Right there.

I had no idea that he was coming.

This sparked a drink-fuelled sob at just how bloody wonderful my life was, how wonderful my friends were. I was surrounded by love and I was never, ever given the opportunity to forget it. Him turning up epitomised the last four months of my life and as we walked through Glasgow at 4am, I told him how magical it had all been, and how grateful I was for him and everybody else.

I actually can’t even begin to cover how many people helped me through these times, I can’t begin to tell you how much love was enveloping my entire life. I can’t begin to go into every kind gesture, every wonderful thing said, every step that got me to where I am today but, what I can say, is that those sparks lit the way. Life was tough but I was tougher. I am tougher.

The brightest spark in all of this was me. If I have learned anything over the past 7 months it’s that I am strong, I am loved and even in my darkest, most horrifically intense moments, I know that I’ll be okay. I’m resilient and I am so, so proud of myself. I’m proud that I fought to be happy and stable again. I’m proud that I have grown to be the woman I always hoped I’d be. I will always be okay.

“I have realised that the moon

did not have to be full for us to love it,

that we are not tragedies

stranded here beneath it,

that if my heart

really broke

every time I fell from love

I’d be able to offer you confetti by now.

But hearts don’t break, y’all,

they bruise and get better.

We were never tragedies.

We were emergencies.

You call 911.

Tell them I’m havin’ a fantastic time.”

– Buddy Wakefield, We Were Emergencies


So this is the new year


A couple of years ago, my friends and I decided that we’d take a shot for every time somebody posted Death Cab for Cutie – The New Year on Hogmanay. Guys, if you’re reading this, and you understood the reference – the rule still stands. Sorry.

So, it’s 2018. 2017 passed in a bit of a wild blur for me, I think any kind of happiness was mildly clouded by the chronic pain that I struggled with throughout the year. I still feel like I’m on pause until I’m treated but as that is hopefully around the corner, I’m more hopeful for 2018.

I spent a lot of 2017 apologising and excusing myself. I felt that I needed to justify every aspect of who I was – right down to my writing. I was published once last year. I barely even tried. I couldn’t justify to myself, in my head, why my writing was more important than somebody else’s. I couldn’t rationalise putting my work out there. Not only was it my work, it was my taste in films, music, my opinions. I just lost all confidence.

In 2018, I’m going to try to get off my own back. I have resolutions, that I’ve shared with those close to me but my main goal for 2018 is just being kinder to myself and realising that my feelings, my words, my work all have worth even if I don’t always feel like they do.

In 2018, I’ll be following the words of the wonderful Carrie Fisher:

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

It’s how I’ve lived my whole life up until now. Time to get back to being unapologetically myself.

Happy new year.


Morning Commute – The Love Letters

When Autumn’s golden gown drapes over Scotland, I think of you. The rest of the year, I try not to.

The early morning wind stings my cheeks as I stumble into Ibrox station and, just like clockwork, I think of you. It still aches that we couldn’t figure each other out. We wanted to. You wanted in and I know that and I am sorry. I’m not convinced I’ll ever be comfortable with how little control I had over our connection. The rush of the subway feels like a metaphor for our attempts to nudge our way into each other’s souls. It’s urgent and it’s ugly. If you’re sentimental enough like I am, but you’re not, there is a kind of intimate beauty to it. Like us, briefly.

I try to not look around too much. I’ve changed since you knew me. I’ve changed because you knew me. I’m more confident and kind but I still would rather not smile at strangers on the underground. I’ve changed but I’m still me. I never was comfortable with connecting. The dark irony of peers believing that you were difficult and I wasn’t was never lost on me. I’m sorry you saw through me.

Still, this carriage rickets and it shakes. It smells, it looks dated and tourists seem to love it. It carries on despite all criticisms and has stood the test of time. It carries on because, in it’s own wee way, it works. That’s what you always did. My relentless need to be liked and loved by everybody was challenged by your relentless search for the truth, no matter the cost. You always carried on despite what others thought and I admired that about you. Even now, I admire your determination.

I swear, 12 minutes feels longer every day. After six brief intervals across Glasgow, I’m finally at my stop. I sometimes wish I was still whimsical enough to daydream. Being late to the office would be worthwhile if I missed my stop because I was lost in my own head. Teachers always hated how much I daydreamed. I just miss it.

On more tender days, the city feels like a punch to the gut. I have so many ghosts here that my reality is in a constant state of distortion. Autumn offers me the opportunity to hide from them. Layers upon layers of security. I try to make myself so invisible in the hopes that one day, maybe I’ll become one myself and lose the all-too-heavy weight of existence.

I love Glasgow, and Trongate especially because I identify with struggle. I identify with pulling yourself up from the ground and never being quite the same. I identify with the kind of solidarity it takes to rebuild a broken city. I haven’t ever shaken off my demons because, in my mind, they make me who I am and struggle is an essential part of being human. You resented this side of me, it turned out. It still stings that you believed it all, now, means nothing. It still stings that you believe I use it as an excuse for how I was. I can tell you now, far too many years later, it wasn’t an excuse. It was, though, the reason I acted the way I did towards you. I didn’t know anything that wasn’t constant struggle, really and sometimes created my own. I was a lost soul but you saw cruelty. The line could blur but like I said, we never really did understand each other.

I knew your sore spots, your weaknesses, your frustrations and I prodded at them because unlike many others, you hadn’t learned to not give in to it. You hadn’t learned that the poison you spewed at me was my own creation. You loved me, you liked me but worst of all, you needed me. It scared me so much that I chose to struggle. Again. It’s not your fault and it’s not mine. We were both just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Overall, we were wrong. We just didn’t want to be.

I don’t like to think of you because I don’t like to think of me. I don’t like to think of us. I’ve been thinking about you since I woke today and I can’t tell if the bitterness on my tongue is from the coffee that I don’t want but need or from the sour reminder of us. I need you to know that I didn’t just forget you. The bruise is still there and when I prod it, the sting still leaves me winded. In my mind, our friendship will always be Autumn. It was beautiful, it was fleeting and it was always destined to leave us destitute.

Morning commutes should be spent thinking of the day, the week ahead. Maybe even thinking of the weekend. All I can think about is you. The years since we’ve spoken have passed in a blur and I fear the ones ahead will, too. I think a lot about how short and fleeting life is. I think about how distinctly tragic it is that there are some cracks we’ll never fill. My envy towards those who can comfortably move on from these things churns in my stomach.

You should know that I’ve now learned that being kind leaves you with fewer regrets.

I’ll always be sorry. Sorry about me, about you, about us and about how little control we had all along. Hey, maybe that’s finally the thing we have in common? Why were you always so concerned about how little we had in common?

I work at the Barrowlands. To me, this venue symbolises hope. The rough times the venue has experienced are evident on the exterior. It’s dated. It’s beautiful. It’s still loved despite a somewhat shady history. It’s coming back to life in the only way buildings and humans can; it has been nurtured. So have I. I’m a better person because I knew you and because I lost you.

I hope your leaves changed too.


Twenty Eight

I usually write a life lesson for every year that I’ve been alive but I thought, just this once, I’d skip that.


I’ve spent the time I would usually spend writing my “life lessons” thinking about who I’ve been and who I am today.

I do think younger me would be proud.

I used to shy away from thinking of the little girl I once was because she was awkward, she was weird, she had crooked teeth and she cried a lot. Now, though, I’m awkward, I’m weird, I have crooked teeth and crying is second nature to me. I cry at beauty and I cry at heartache. I’ve learned to love myself, weirdness and all. Weirdness especially.

Sometimes I want to go back and tell her that it all gets easier, it won’t always be scary but really, life doesn’t get easier. You just get better at navigating it. It’s due to resilience and the shield of I’ve been through this before and survived, I’ll do it all over again. 

Sometimes I just want to tell her she’s great the way she is. Don’t think about the future, it’ll come whether you worry or not. Enjoy life now. Hey, have you watched Labriynth for the 15th time today?


Turning 28 seems quite strange. Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived 1000 lives and sometimes I feel like I’m barely starting out. I am barely starting out, really. Still, it feels strange that I’ll soon be 30 and I am nowhere near where I thought I’d be at 30.

I guess, though, when you’re younger, you have complete tunnel-vision. Growing up, I thought that I’d be married, with children, by 25. I didn’t really want this, it just seemed to be how things happened. In reality, at 25, I did not want to be married or have children. Another kitten would have definitely sufficed.

I am glad that I didn’t live up to my own expectations. I used to hate being wrong so much that I’d cry when I lost card games (I was 8, I was sensitive, shut up) but now, proving myself wrong is actually quite enjoyable and sometimes even a relief.

I could have done everything step-by-step. High school – college – university- career. I sometimes wish I had. Poverty and lack of qualifications are not aspirational to anyone. But finding your own way, despite all barriers, despite personal struggles, is. I’m glad I always chose to take the long way around. I wouldn’t be me, otherwise.


If nothing else, I feel that I’m now the most comfortable in my own skin that I’ve ever, ever been. I’m happy to be turning 28 if a little bewildered. I never feared growing up, I looked forward to the freedom that adulthood would bring.

I think teenage me would be stunned at my stability. She didn’t hope for much, just for life to be calmer. I haven’t actually changed in that respect. I think stability is underrated though I envy those that live a little more on the edge than I do.


When life is tough, I’m still grateful for the roots beneath my feet. They never go. They never will. But, should the worst happen, and I find myself alone, I still have myself and because of this, in many ways, I’m fearless.

Anyway, back to my 28 lessons.

The thing with constantly providing life lessons year after year is, I have to think long and hard about them and some of them feel inauthentic. I’ll be honest, the older I get, the more I struggle. Sometimes you aren’t aware you’ve learned anything until much, much later on when you find yourself not repeating a mistake you would have previously eagerly made. Does that make sense?

So, I didn’t write 28 life lessons. I just wrote this ramble. I just wrote. That’s all I’ve ever done, in one way or another.

I recently saw an old friend’s mum for the first time in a few years. I always loved her. I kind of want to be her when I’m older; intelligent, silly and warm. I like to think I’m that now but I imagine my often anxious state doesn’t allow for that to be my consistent demeanour. That’s okay. It’ll come.


She told me that she’s delighted that I now (mostly) write for a living because if nothing else, I was always scribbling something down. I’ve always been scribbling things down. If the words weren’t my own, I was just rewriting somebody else’s lyrics or quotes. I wanted to absorb poetry and language in any way I could.

I’d forgotten that, though. I’d forgotten that I had always been a bit of a scribbler. I’d forgotten that I had endless, endless notepads filled with my ramblings.

On reflection, I love younger me, a lot. I love her for her resilience, her humour,  her ridiculous risk-taking at times, her determination to stay soft and I love her for always writing.

I love current me for all of the same reasons.


The biggest lesson I’ve learned, aside from gratitude, is that I am so much more than the things I’ve been through. I’ve learned self-love. I look at the photos I’ve shared here and I see a strong, kind, intelligent girl who’s carried these traits into womanhood. I didn’t always and if there’s one defining great thing about aging for me, it’s loving myself as warmly and entirely as I love those around me.

So, here’s the best I have to offer. Maybe not 28 life lessons but, for now, enough:

In 28 years I’ve learned that that life is rarely easy and in fact, it’s sometimes actually really fucking painful. I’ve learned that being kind is so much more important than being smart. I’ve learned that I will always be a child of the universe and will never have all of the answers and that this is a good thing! I’ve learned that love doesn’t conquer all but it does go a long way. I’ve learned that being enthusiastic about anything – from the stars at night to HOW CUTE IS THAT LITTLE TUB OF KETCHUP is something to treasure, never to be ashamed of.

I’ve learned that as long as I have myself, I will always be okay but fortunately, it’ll never just be me.

I’ve learned that coming up with 28 life lessons is quite menial in comparison to exploring the lessons you love the most.

So, here’s a happy birthday to myself. I hope at 28, I continue to thrive and be so unashamedly myself. It’s been a unique journey so far and I’m so excited for the years to come, pain and all.


Why I’m not writing about my trauma anymore.

Let’s lay it all out here so I never have to outline them again:

  • I have Endometriosis
  • I was sexually abused as a child by my dad, who went to prison for it. His family cut me out and they still keep him around. It fucked me up – I have some terrible abandonment issues
  • I’ve been sexually assaulted (and wrote about it for #MeToo)
  • I have anxiety, OCD and have suffered from depression
  • I have Dyspraxia

Done. Done. Done. No more.

I am happy to speak about these on any level, any platform, with anyone but I will not write about them anymore. I don’t want to write about how much I’ve suffered to legitimise who I am now. I am strong, kind, interesting and funny and not all of these are a result of me being a victim. I feel like everything I write comes with a trigger warning. I feel that people always have to prepare themselves for some dark stories and honestly, that’s not actually who or how I am. This is more about me than anyone else. I don’t see myself as a victim per se but I feel I need to explain why I am the way I am and… I don’t want to anymore. I’m flawed. Everybody is. I’ve been through shit. Everybody has. Enough.

Every time I write about something I’ve suffered with, I feel like I’m offering out a piece of myself. I’m there for the taking. A little bit of trauma at a time. My story can be consumed by anybody. I’m tired of it. I want to share my life, who I am now. I view the world through an empathy lens and not to sound like I’m tooting my own horn but honestly, I have some great ideas. I have so much more to offer than my suffering.

I will always fight for fellow victims and sufferers. I’ll never be quiet. But for now, for me, I want to be more than this.

I am making a concerted, non-Instagrammable effort to really indulge in self-care and the first step is this.


The Passport

Remember to take keys with you, Kristy might not be home when you get back.

Remember to breathe.

Remember to check the route to the hostel.

Remember to breathe.

Remember to download podcasts for the plane.

Remember to breathe.

Remember to put the boarding pass in your Apple Wallet.

Remember to breathe.

Here’s the thing about me and travel; I want to travel but I would also, really, just rather not. I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder and whenever I leave my comfort zone, these are both sincerely heightened. Even if I’m just going to a different part of Scotland, even if I’m going out for dinner.

Earlier this month, I went to Berlin with my little sister to celebrate her 21st birthday.

The flight is delayed. It’s okay. You’re still safe. If it comes to it, you can get a taxi to the hostel.

Remember to breathe. 

I don’t trust this airline. I don’t think they care about my safety. I could die on this. I still have an hour and forty-five minutes to go. I shouldn’t be on this flight. I knew it. I’ve known.

I don’t want to breathe. I don’t want to be on here. I can’t stop crying. I’d be embarrassed since I’m sat next to strangers but I’m too far gone.

I landed. I didn’t expect that. I’m okay. My sister is okay. We’re going to get a taxi, it’s too late to navigate u-bahns and s-bahns. My phone is fully charged because I was too scared to use it on the flight so I track our taxi’s journey. Oh my god, this is Berlin. This is beautiful. I can’t believe I’m on holiday with my little sister and JUST LOOK AT IT. 

I’m so far from home.

Oh god, I’m so far from home.

Okay, once we’re out of this taxi, I just need to check in and then I can finally, finally sleep. I have had a bagel and a glass of lemonade all day. I’m tired, I’m dehydrated, I just want to forget today even happened.

Can you just provide some photo ID please?

Yes. Of course. 

Where is it?!

No. Oh my god. No. No. I can’t deal with this. 

I left it in the taxi. They’re not going to let me check in. I’ve ruined everything. Will I ever get home?!

Of course, they still let us in. The very kind receptionist offered to call the taxi company and the airport through the night. He took my sister’s ID as enough to cover both of us and I paid for our beds. If nothing else, we had somewhere to stay for 4 nights. This was the kind of catastrophic thinking I employed; are we safe? Can we get home? My desperation for just very basic needs came from a place of paranoid thinking that is hugely fuelled by my anxiety disorder.

Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Stop seeking reassurance, just go to fucking sleep.

I don’t think I rested, I didn’t feel it anyway but because I’d been too anxious to eat or drink the day before, my body gave in and I passed out anyway. This is extremely unhealthy and I don’t recommend it but I was grateful that I’d been too physically weak to stay awake because otherwise, I wouldn’t have slept. My obsessive thinking patterns would have spiraled.

The next day was a haze. I couldn’t really think straight. I was on a comedown from the anxiety that had tortured me the day before but of course, I didn’t have a passport so my anxiety wasn’t any better, really. I fixated pretty hard on this. Fixating is a huge part of my obsessive-compulsive disorder and what would, in reality, be a minor issue becomes something huge. It’s all I can focus on. For me, also, the disorder comes with “magical thinking”. I find myself believing that I can change the course of things. I believed that if I stopped thinking about getting home, even for a second, I never would manage it.

They’re not going to believe you. 

You won’t remember basic things about yourself. 

You won’t be home on time.

I texted my boss, “I don’t know how this works but I might need to take emergency leave. I’m really worried about this and so sorry”. He reassured me that he’d been through this before, and it’s fine. Stay in touch.

His words should have reassured me but they didn’t. Obsess, obsess, obsess.

Just need to get through the next day and then I’ll know.

I’ll know my fate.

My sister was both bemused and concerned. I still wasn’t eating. I couldn’t finish meals. She knew I’d be fine and maybe I did on some level but it didn’t matter. The thoughts had taken over entirely.

I don’t feel real.

My surroundings don’t feel real.

They’re not real. None of this is.


I can get back to being me, soon. I hope. 

Finally, on the Monday morning, it was time to go to the embassy. I took a photo for the passport. I took another. I took another. I finally settled on one that is maybe the most unflattering photo of me of all time but also, it worked as a passport photo.

What if they arrest me?

How tough will the interrogation be?

We arrived, finally. I signed to say the information I’d provided online was all accurate. I paid £100. That was it. All of that for what took maybe 15 minutes all in. I went back 2 hours later and picked up my emergency passport.

I’m a nightmare.

I’m really not well, oh man.

Remember to breathe.

The rest of our holiday was so very lovely. I learned so much about Germany, about the history and about my little sister. I was still coming down from what was an unbelievably stressful experience so my appetite was minimal and I couldn’t drink. I wanted to be responsible with my brain, as well, so I avoided drinking alcohol for the most part. It was a bit of a shame for me as I really love German beer but I’m proud that I made that decision.

A bus stopped on our street, cars couldn’t move and the bus wasn’t either.

It’s got a bomb on it. That’s why I’ve been so anxious. I knew I’d die here.

Magical thinking again. Charged paranoia.

We got home without any issues and I collapsed onto my bed. Relieved to be there after obsessively telling myself I never would be.

Take it in, remind yourself that your paranoid thoughts have never, ever been right. You’re safe, you’re loved, you’re okay.

I’m glad I can laugh about it all. Because it really is funny, isn’t it? Absurd, sad, scary and honestly, just a little bit funny.


Fear Makes Me

One thing I’ve always been called, repeatedly, is brave. Even people that have admitted they don’t like me as a person has said they admire my courage. It’s a lovely thing to be recognised for and something that I actually do appreciate that I am. What I am not, but am told I am a lot, is fearless.

I’m absolutely terrified. Every moment of my waking life is met with fear and not just because I have anxiety. My fear wakes me up in the middle of the night, it can limit my relationships, it dominated my teen years. I am, in every way, a nervous wreck. Please don’t forget it.

When I spoke out about my childhood abuse, I was terrified. There was nothing fearless about it and although I absolutely never, ever regret doing it I do feel my fear was justified. It changed my life beyond all recognition. In my mind, there is a Sarah before the speaking out and a Sarah after. Neither were happy, both will always be victims of abuse but what happened after; my father’s entire family cut me out… It changed me. I was right to be scared. I was about to experience loss and betrayal on a deep, deep level.

This fear has stuck. It will never fully leave me. As much as I despise admitting it, I will always be a victim of not only abuse but gaslighting and betrayal. Nobody could recover from that and I’m tired of pretending I’m anything near recovered.

Here’s the thing, though. I will always live in fear but this fear makes me.

Fear makes me strive hard to be a better person because the only thing worse than what my family did to me is the prospect of being them. It makes me work through demons and bad habits, no matter how oddly comforting they are.

Fear makes me love. I love hard. I love with reckless abandon. Once I love you, I’m in. I love you. And I always will. Much to the frustration of my friends and family, I see you at your worst and I’m still there because I know what it is to be the one that people can’t handle. The one who is too angry, too intense, too difficult. I know what it is to feel unloved or like “too much” and I never want to put somebody else in that position. The thought terrifies me. You’re a wreck and so am I, let’s be gentle with one another.

Fear makes me work. When you’re a victim of abuse, and a dropout, people have ideas of where you’ll go. I’m repeatedly told that I’ve done so well “considering” and I hate it. I am not a statistic. As much as I accept the victim label, I won’t accept the connotations that the label comes with. I’m broken, I’m bruised and I’m not all that trusting but I am also smart, dedicated, creative and so much more than my experiences seem to suggest.

My demons lurk at the end of my bed, rest in the pit of my stomach, appear at my darkest times to remind me both how much worse it could be and how much worse it has been. They sit beside me at my desk, slowly feeding my Imposter Syndrome.

And they terrify the shit out of me.

So I use Fear and I fight. I fight for every part of my life, every day. Fear is the sting in my lungs, it’s the stutter when I speak, it’s where I look when looking people in the eye is too much, it’s weighted nausea at the back of my throat and it makes me. 

I live through it and with it. I kiss it in the morning before braving the outside world and I smile at it at night when I come home.

I’m not fearless and I don’t want to be.


Thank you for the music – our playlist

So. The Darkness is a big deal to me. I love them. I love them so much that I burst out crying and then squealed when I found out that they were playing Download 2015. I love them so much that when they split, my mum looked after me as if I was going through a breakup. I love them. They are everything I love about 80s rock and roll in a modern band. I haven’t met many other people who love them the way I do but one friend who does is Euan. It’s the first thing we had in common and it’s led to over a decade of us talking about, and sharing music.

It started with a simple enough question;

Have you heard The Jezebel’s new album?

This question was the catalyst for our playlist. It was a joint place where we could share the music we wanted to introduce each other to in an easy way. 746 songs later and it’s so much more. It’s become our place of sharing new music, old music, songs that shaped us, songs that can only ever remind us of 2005 and even the place for games. (5 cover songs that are better than the originals.. and… not already on The Playlist.) We actually realised the other day that we have only 1 Phil Collins song on there. Unreal.

The playlist that was initially supposed to be a place to share new music that we could discuss later has become a digital escape. It’s even become something of a diary; when I look back over the past 18 months and the songs I was adding, I can see growth, I can see aching, I can see hope.

The songs that have been both introduced and reintroduced to me have been tiny, consistent gifts. I’m at an age, and in a place in my life where I feel I have very little time and I’m losing time for my hobbies and interests so to bring music back to me in such a simple yet meaningful way has been a treat. Not to mention the “for every sad song you put on there, I’ll add a hopeful one” rule that was made after my relationship of seven years ended.

Music has always been a deeply personal thing for me – I use it to complement the moods that I’m in, I know which songs to go to in order to help me through certain things. I can pinpoint where I was when I heard some of my favourite songs for the first time. To me, music is intimate as hell. Having this playlist, this corner of my silly streaming account dedicated solely to sharing music has been so incredibly enriching. Sharing it with an old friend, who is as busy and stretched as I am, has made our friendship so much better than it ever was.

We have no rules, no accusations of “guilty pleasures” – for there should be no guilt around the music you enjoy! It’s just everything we love, we want the other to love and to be honest, it’s the purest and best approach to sharing music that I’ve ever known. It’s been a constant at a time when I’ve felt I’m losing all of my constants, my eras.

But isn’t that just music anyway?

Thank you for the music, pal and the odd little escape from reality.


27 life lessons at 27


Good grief I’m 27.

It’s the time of year again where I list all of the lessons learned in the past year. This past year has been one massive upheaval. My life turned upside down French Prince style and I am just now starting to find my feet again. Sort of.

  1. Ask for help when you need it
    I am pretty bad for letting things truly pile on top of me until I have an eventual breakdown and surprise everybody with statements on just how bad things have gotten. I struggle to let people help me. My pride is definitely one of my worst traits and once I finally let that go and asked the people that had been trying to help to be there for me, my life improved 100%. Things were still difficult but I wasn’t alone.
  2. Take the risk
    As much as I talk about how difficult this year has been, I have found myself in the ideal job for me. I love it. I love the people I work with, I love the work I do, I never resent going to work. I love it so much I’m not even fussed that it’s another 3 months until I have a decent amount of time off. I got this job because I took a risk. I didn’t actually think I’d even get to the interview stage and here I am, 2 interviews and 8 months after applying, working for a great company.
  3. Stay busy
    This isn’t for everybody but for me, staying busy keeps my head above water. Staying creative, product and sociable is so important, especially when times are tough
  4. … but acknowledge when you need a break, and take it
  5. Explore more
    My friend Greig and I have been friends for 10 years but it was only this year that we decided to start actually going on mini adventures together. We spent hours walking around the Falls of Clyde, we did the audio tour of Doune Castle (highly recommended!), we’ve explored the fields around Greig’s local area and most recently, we visited Pollok Park for the first time. We have some more exciting adventures planned for next year, even a wee trip away overnight together! These days out are ideal for blowing away cobwebs.
  6. What you want matters
    I think it’s a millenial thing. We’ve only ever known recession in our adult lives, really, so we spend a lot of time being grateful for what we have and in terms of material things, that is excellent. Relationships, romantic or otherwise, not so much. What I want from a friendship, a relationship, fuck it – a kiss! Matters.
  7. There’s strength in being vulnerable
    I can’t really expand on this as I have a big piece planned on it but seriously, I’m not ashamed of being soft, vulnerable, anything. It’s bravery.
  8. “How people treat other people is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.” ― Paulo Coelho
  9. More people care than you ever think
  10. It’s never too late to take the steps to becoming who you want to be 
  11. It’s okay to be sad
    It is no secret that I was sad this year. I still am a lot of the time. I have this awful habit of trying to push feelings away but recently, I’ve accepted that sometimes, I just am sad. And that’s okay.
  12. I’ll keep you safe, you keep me strong”
  13. Let people look after you
    It never occurred to me after my breakup that my friends actually wanted to look after me. I felt like a burden on them. I was sad enough, why put them through it, too? Turns out they wanted to help. They wanted to hold my hand through dark times, they wanted me to be myself around them, even if  myself was nothing short of a broken mess. Through all of this heartache and sadness, I’ve never felt alone. The outpouring of love towards me has been overwhelming in the very best way. Allowing people to look after me, saved me.
  14. If nothing else, Tinder is good for the ego. I’ve still got it. Sorta.
  15. There is no such thing as too much Sangria.
  16. Make plans. Make plans. Make plans.
    Making plans really helps me. Knowing that there are things to look forward to, things to focus on, helps. As do countdown timer apps.
  17. Write often
    Even if I know it won’t be published, even if I’m not 100% confident in what I’m writing, I write.
  18. If somebody sends you a link on OkCupid, don’t open it
    … Seriously. Blegh. I should know better.
  19. Better yet, just delete your OkCupid account
  20. Have confidence in your decisions
    From TV shows to jobs, owning my decisions has been SO worthwhile. I am learning to trust my intuition more.
  21. The Mountain Goats are underrated and are great for so many occasions
  22. Home is where the cats are
  23. Treat. Yo. Self.
  24. “Apathy is a cancer” – B Dolan
    With 2016 being so very… 2016, it’s tempting to give in to apathy. God knows it’d be easier. But I refuse. I’m angry, I’m despairing and I’m determined. I can only do so much but if I can make tiny changes, in the tiny space of the world that I occupy, it’s something.
  25. There are not enough candles and fairy lights in the world to satiate my hunger
  26. Some people come into your life and are exactly what you need at that specific time. And that’s enough.
  27. If you can stay hopeful, you’re indestructible. 



30 day TREAT YOURSELF challenge


I failed Blogtober. I’m not even sorry. Any time I wasn’t writing, I was drinking wine, I was watching movies, I was on dates, I was not stressing out about not writing for Blogtober. It was a good challenge, and I admire those that got through it but man I’m so done with 30 day challenges.

I saw somebody say today that she’s cutting out Netflix and chocolate in November AND she’s attempting NaNoWriMo. Again, commendable but where do we draw the line? Why are we so consistently determined to suffer? Another one I’ve seen is 30 days of gratitude. I’m a big cheerleader for gratitude and I think recognising what I have to be grateful for has made me a happier, better person but sometimes, like today, I’m not grateful and dude, that’s fine. That’s more than fine!

Despite 2016 being some never-ending hell, despite Brexit, despite the uncertainty of our country’s future, we are still not letting ourselves be pissed off. We’re still going on about embracing mindfulness. We’re still squashing down emotions and trying to out-perfect ourselves. Enough. I can’t watch it any more guys. It’s been a tough old year, we need to be more gentle on ourselves.

Give yourself a break! TREAT. YO. SELF.

If you insist on doing a 30 day challenge, might I suggest my one. That I just made up.

  1. Be angry. Feel. Scream. Whatever, just let it all out. Fuck it. Don’t harm anyone, obviously.
  2. See that dickhead? The one that has been pissing you off for months? The one who makes you fake-smile so hard you think your cheeks might blow up? Have a good ol’ rant about them. A big rant. Let it allllll the fuck out. I know, right? Why do they sneeze SO LOUDLY?!
  3. Cancel plans. You didn’t want to go. They know, deep down, you don’t want to go. Just cancel them and basque in the sweet relief that this brings.
  4. Okay, just for some “posi vibes”, buy yourself that thing. The thing you keep going back to. The thing that has been following you around the internet since you first went on the page. Buy it. You won’t spend that money on anything else worthwhile.
  5. Have you earned that nap? Who fucking cares? Nap. Should you really be napping when you could be doing more productive things? Who cares? Nap.
  6. It’s Sunday. You had a takeaway on Friday, you were out last night so really, you’ve met your calorie limit for the week. But that means nothing, it’s Sunday, they’re depressing. Get the pizza you’re craving. If you’re going for pizza, you may as well go all out. Don’t offend your own senses by getting low-fat pizza.
  7. Trying to listen to music that is refined and looks cool when people spy on your Spotify? Stop. Listen to whatever. Why are you even ashamed of the music you listen to? Fuck what other people think, music is there to be enjoyed. Just enjoy it. Everybody loves Bieber these days anyway.
  8. Been meaning to unfollow somebody on Twitter but don’t want to cause drama? Fuck the drama, unfollow them. Treat yourself to a less infuriating feed.
  9. You have been meaning to read that book and yeah, we all should be reading more but just this once… Watch your tacky show. You love it. That’s all that matters.
  10. Fall asleep looking at your phone. It’s bad for you but so is capitalism and here we are.
  11. Fancy skipping the gym? GO FOR IT. I’m proud of you for your resilience against that sweaty hellhole. Just think, you won’t have to watch a bunch of insufferable LADS take over machines tonight because you’re not going to the gym.
  12. Can the dishes reaaaallly be put off til tomorrow? Yup. Do it.
  13. Fuck it, ignore them today too. It’s Sunday.
  14. Treat yourself for doing the dishes by going to that thing you weren’t sure if you could justify. Here is your justification.
  15. Go to a park, enjoy what’s left of Autumn, embrace nature and take some selfies because damn, you look cute today. Embracing nature and your beauty do not need to be mutually exclusive. Also, there will be dogs and it is nothing short of an outrage if you don’t take photos of the dogs for your friends.
  16. No, you really don’t want to go to the Christmas party. So don’t say you will. Just don’t go. Your colleagues shouldn’t have to put up with your eye-rolling but more importantly, your eyes are vital and should not be rolled as much as they inevitably will be at the Christmas do.
  17. Go to the cinema alone. It will maybe make you feel a little more wholesome, independent, mindful but it will definitely ensure that you don’t have somebody nudging you every time something funny/remarkable/shocking happens.
  18. What a hellish week eh? Have a wee cry. We all love a wee cry, it’s fine.
  19. Have a big bubble bath. No need for it to be Lush products, just a big bath. Listen to a podcast you love. Go for a nap after it because post-bath naps are the best. Don’t even bother getting changed, just flop down in your towel for an hour or so. Four hours. Whatever. You do you.
  20. Anything you think you can’t justify in your weekly shop, here is your justification: TREAT. YO. SELF. Those cookies are not going to eat themselves.
  21. You do need to get round to watching Stranger Things. Everybody says it’s the best show, ever, but y’know what? Why not watch your favourite show that you’ve already seen 30 times? You’re not ready to start a new series and that’s cool.
  22. It’s not December yet and everybody is berating you for ‘already’ watching Christmas movies. Fuck them. Love, Actually is a classic and can be watched multiple times between now and Christmas. Watch the movie. Regardless of when you start celebrating Christmas, “To me, you are perfect”.
  23. That champagne that’s saved for a special occasion? That occasion is today! Congratulations! I’m so thrilled for you! Enjoy your mid-week drinks!
  24. Don’t look at the news today. Have a day off. Give your brain a day off. Watch some kitten cam videos.
  25. She said what!? Who cares? Have a nice day of not acknowledging anything outrageous on social media. Other people will chime in. You don’t need to. Treat yourself.
  26. Last Saturday of November can only mean one thing – TREAT YO SELF SATURDAY. You’re going to be stressed about Christmas for the next few weekends so this weekend, do nothing
  27. I meant nothing.
  28. Remember when that person was not as much of a dick as they are now? You’ve been meaning to talk to them about it for, ooh, two years maybe? Cut them out. Cut them loose. You don’t need this stress.
  29. Feeling pretty proud of something you’ve done recently? Tell people! Embrace their compliments and stop feeling like you ought not to be so ‘showy’. Be as showy as you want, babe, you worked hard on this. Or you didn’t. Who cares, you still pulled it off.
  30. PAYDAY. TREAT YO SELF. Buy that relative that not-so-secretly hates you something a little less expensive this year and spend the remainder on YOU.